Leaving Your Plants Home Alone

If you’re planning to travel or visit family & friends for a few days, are you prepared to leave your plants to fend for themselves? Here are some tips to make sure you return home to lush, healthy plants. 

Light & Temperature 

The more light your plant receives, the faster the soil will dry out. To prevent wilting, reduce the amount of light your plant receives while you’re away. If your plant is kept near a window, you can move it farther away from the window or draw a sheer curtain. If your plant is kept under a grow light, reduce the intensity of the light or move your plant farther away from the light source. 

Make sure your home is at a temperature well-suited for your plants - don’t leave the thermostat too high or low while away. And avoid leaving your plants hear heaters, air conditioners, or drafty areas. 

houseplants on stand in front of curtained window


One of the trickiest parts of leaving your plants home alone is keeping soil moisture ideal. The good news is that moisture will likely not be an issue if: 

  • You are going away for less than a week,
  • Your plants are highly drought tolerant ex. succulents; or;  
  • Your plants are slowing growth or going dormant for the winter months 

In this case, watering your plants thoroughly before you leave should be more than enough to keep them happy. 

Otherwise, you will likely need to do extra work to make sure your plants aren’t getting too thirsty. Here are some ways to do this: 

Make a Make-Shift Greenhouse

This will trap moisture around your plant and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly. This can be done by watering your plant thoroughly and then placing a clear plastic lid or bag with holes over your plant. This will trap moisture and allow for airflow. Make sure foliage is not touching the cover. 

Make a DIY Watering System

This can be done by: 

  • Submerging one end of a capillary wick in a container of water while leaving  the other end in your plant’s soil. The plant will pull in the water it needs through the wick. 
  • Filling an old glass or plastic bottle with water, poking a small hole in the cap, and leaving the bottle upside down in the soil. This will allow the water to trickle into the soil slowly. 

Use Mulch or Biochar

Water your plants thoroughly and cover the topsoil with mulch such as Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Wood Chips or Activated & Inoculated Biochar. This will help trap moisture in the soil. 

jocelyns soil booster wood chips in clear bagplacing biochar in pothos houseplant by hand

Place Your Plants in a Rock Tray

Line a tray with rocks or  Activated & Inoculated Biochar and fill the tray with water most of the way up the rocks. Place your planter on top of the rocks to keep moisture in the air around your plant.

Move Humidity-Loving Plants to Your Bathroom

This is a great way to keep humidity levels in check. Make sure your plants have natural light. 

potted houseplant in white bathroom

Ask a Friend 

If you are going away for several weeks or over a month, asking a friend to water your plants for you is the best way to make sure your plants receive ample water when you’re away.

Give your friend clear instructions and make sure to bring them back a souvenir!

Other Tips

  • There is no need to feed your plants before you leave or in the weeks prior to your departure. Your plant will use up energy and water quicker if it grows too much. If you’re concerned about nutrients running low, apply a small amount of Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Worm Manure to your plants a few weeks before departure. 
  • Prune dead or unhealthy foliage as well as buds or flowers before leaving to reduce water needs. 

Happy travels!